"The latter assumes our nation has claimed favored status with God." I see no such assumption. Where is it? You can leave God
clear out of it, and still note that as a matter of objective, secular fact,
America is an exceptional nation. No other nation served such a prominent role
in creating the modern liberal democratic consensus. At the time the United
States was founded, there were only two other countries in the world that were
remotely democratic -- the Dutch and Swiss Republics, both of them quite small.
No country had ever demonstrated that democracy could "scale" -- could
function in a large enough polity to bend the arc of world affairs towards
self-government. America did. And that is a good thing. It is just
chest-thumping USA! USA! We're number one! chanting to say so. It is
simple, objective historical fact.
"Or get to know your agnostic or atheist neighbors since many of the
Founders were in fact closer to their sentiments than those of a church
member."Name five.I'll spot you Franklin,
Jefferson and Madison. Who else? And would even those men be
properly classified as "atheist or agnostic" by modern
I don't know if other nations should emulate what 'America' has
become although they might profitably emulate what it once was, maybe two
hundred years ago.
Waving the flag saying "my country right or wrong" is not patriotism.
Sloganeering about "protecting freedom" while making war to
protect oil company profits is not patriotism. Sending the poor to war
while the sons of the powerful get deferments is not patriotism. Declaring
war and not funding veteran's services is not patriotism. Mistreating minorities under the banner of "religious freedom" is not
patriotism. Patriots don't get rich dismantling American
companies and sending American jobs overseas. Patriots don't force
their religious views onto their neighbors. Patriots don't close the
borders of the country that once proclaimed "give me your tired, your
poor..."Patriots don't scream the chorus of "Born in
the USA," they know the verses that talk about the mistreatment of Vietnam
Nam Vets and the betrayal and destruction of the working men and women in this
country. Patriots are appalled at privatized prisons and the abuses
covered by the war on drugs, at hungry children and underfunded education while
we spend billions on war. I am a former Navy Hospital Corpsman. I
volunteered and served 8 years. I am a patriot. I am not conservative or
“Lacy Cooke encouraged readers to use the holiday to get to know neighbors
of different faith traditions and denominations.”Or get to
know your agnostic or atheist neighbors since many of the Founders were in fact
closer to their sentiments than those of a church member.
During the 4th of July celebrations I'm reminded of many studies,
including one done at Harvard, that says that republicans are more patriotic and
that children who attend patriotic events are more likely to become republicans.
This is not surprising of course, but fun to remember.USA!
America is exceptional because of its history and constitution. At its
inception, Americans were exceptional because of their adoption of the
exceptional concept of self-government. This couldn't have happened
without the aid and influence of divine providence. Since then, other people
have adopted this concept and have manifested their own version of
exceptionalism. I believe that America is an exceptional nation,
and hope that one day many other nations will emulate her and become fully
exceptional, too. I know, "when all nations are exceptional, none of them
are." To which I reply, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if the whole
world became exceptional among the billions of other worlds."
Faith, for those who claim it in the limited context it usually takes here, is
infused in and modifies most everything it's claimants experience. At
least, that's what they say.But it isn't necessary. July 4th,
halloween, the solstice, golf, even tax deadline day, can all be richly
experienced as part of the human experience without permission, or guilt, from
someone claiming to reveal divinity. In fact, some of these experiences,
such as the fourth of July, are arguably better left as Thomas Jefferson said
they ought to be, on the other side of the wall. Let's honour the vision of
the wise, learned men, elites of their time, in the founding of this nation. And
remember the stamp of it's humble origin, rather than attempting to place a
veneer of divine infallibility on it.